Speakeasy is a monthly dance party that’s been going for five years. Its a mobile event held in some of Tokyo’s most unlikely venues. Places like Sasazuka Bowl, Hotel Koe Tokyo, Zou-no-hana Terrace, and RIDE have acted as elaborate backdrops that frame the party’s family-like affair. Dancer and promoter, Brooklyn Terry is the man behind these shows. “I started Speakeasy selfishly, because I was homesick. I wanted the quality and vibe that I could relate to that didn’t exist here in not just Tokyo but all of Japan,” he said.
The event has featured notable DJ’s like Spinna, De La Soul’s Maseo, and Scratch to name a few. Resident DJ’s include Brooklyn Terry and DJ Sarasa. The party attracts old and young b-boys and b-girls, some with their children in tow. Rap lovers bop to the boom bap. Party goers wind it up next to ballroom dancers twisting their waist to Wu-Tang Clan.
Brooklynite and co-host of the popular show, Raw Urban Mobile Podcast, Tokyo Cliff said, “Speakeasy is special because they find great venues. They play a mix of House music and Hip-Hop, which takes me back in time to Brooklyn block parties. I haven’t gotten that feeling at any event in Tokyo other than Speakeasy.”
At the event foreigners and locals find shared ground through something that they both endurably love and adore, hip-hop and house music. Its common for strangers to become friends. Frequent attendees often see the same faces. Every month new faces appear and the family expands. For that night, the notion of a multi-cultural society becomes a given. Love is indifferent to race. Inclusion embraces all who are open to accept it.
Toddlers find each other in the crowd and battle with their own unadulterated dance moves. It’s as if the less they know about dancing, the better they freak new styles. No screens needed, showing them how-to’s. Their interactions are of pure discovery. Imagine those kids’ first dance party was scored by DJ and producer Marley Marl, credited for creating hip-hop’s first sampled based rap music. It would be like the youngsters were getting musically baptized.
Last Sunday’s party did just that. Marley Marl was in the building. He’s responsible for influencing producers like DJ Premier, Pete Rock, RZA and countless others, some of which aren’t even aware of it. Fans came armed with Marl’s hits like Biz Markie’s “Biz Goin’ Off (1988)” on vinyl for Marl to autograph. One young Japanese man brought an issue of Wax Poetics with Marl on the cover.
For the heads that remember L.L. Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out (1990),” it was a heavy night whose weight was measured through time and the thought of how Marl influenced generations of kids who worshipped his music and the artists that he introduced to the world. That night “The Symphony” maestro also turned 56 years old. Happy Birthday Marl.
Life Parc DJ’s L Evate, DJ Sat0ru, SONOKI spun as well. The Mega Late Show live streamed the event.
Below click on the date to view the full album of Speakeasy’s October 7th party.